Valtteri Bottas claimed his sixth Formula One pole position – his second of the 2018 season and first in Sochi. Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix from P2 on the grid. Today’s result marks the 90th front row lockout for Mercedes-Benz power in Formula One.
It’s been a long time since I last took pole in Austria this year, so this feels very good! We made some changes after FP3 and the car felt even better in Qualifying. I managed to find time in almost every run in Qualifying; I just had to put everything together in Q3. I was able to get a really good lap in on the second run and it was enough for pole, so I’m happy. Our pace looked good so far; on Friday, we were very close to Ferrari and Red Bull, but today we looked strong, so we should hopefully have a competitive car tomorrow. The Ferraris will be strong as well, but we should have a car that gives us the chance to fight them for win. The start will be decisive; we need to aim for a very good initial get-away. The straight into Turn 2 is so long that it’s easy to overtake if the guys behind you get a better start. Today was a good start into the weekend and puts us in a good position for tomorrow, but the main day is still ahead of us and I’ll give it everything to maintain the lead.
This has never been the strongest circuit for me, but Q1 was really good. My run on the HyperSoft at the end of Q2 was a great lap, but then I couldn’t repeat it in Q3. I was two tenths up on my final lap but I made a mistake – I went quite wide and then the back stepped out at the next corner. I think I had the pace for pole, but Valtteri did the better job this time. It’s great for the team to have a 1-2 here, we’ll try and convert that tomorrow. We’ve made some big improvements to how we use the tyres and how we set the car up and it’s showing. It’s tough to overtake here, so the race will be about tyre management and who gets the best start. I’l l be pushing hard; you saw Valtteri’s great start last year, and I think that’ll be my best shot to win.
We can be happy and proud with the pace today, it’s the achievement of a lot of hard work over the past weeks. We have a car that looks really competitive around Sochi, which is especially good after the struggles we had last year. But today is only Saturday, so while being on pole and locking out the front row is a massive satisfaction for us, we know that the slip stream around this track will play a big role tomorrow and could be decisive for the race. So we will try to have a good start to stay in front and then control the race from there. We should have the pace in the car, it’s all about getting off the line well and keeping the position.
Source: Mercedes-AMG F1